There's a lesson my father drilled into me at an early age; its the lesson taught to every British army officer. That you look to the welfare of your men and your animals before you look to your own comfort. IDS is from the same background.
Several years ago I accepted an invitation for a day's rough shooting with a property developer. He had an extremely expensive but completely untrained Springer spaniel. It was also apparent that despite his equally expensive Italian under-and-over he couldn't shoot for toffees. After an hour or so I sensed he was becoming increasingly irritated at the ease with which I bagged the game on my side, so I slowed right down. Much of the game made good its escape anyway, as the Springer charged madly through thickets and hedges far too far away, putting birds and ground game to flight. As the dog returned periodically to his owner to get reassurance or instructions it got shouted at, slapped and, once, kicked. Being a dog it just tried harder.
When we arrived back at his ex-farmhouse after a good six-mile winter tromp, he abruptly ordered the dog into a small outbuilding and took himself indoors to an open fire and the gin bottle. I made some excuse about 'drying off' and returned outside to see the dog. He was sodden wet and trying not to shiver in the November cold, there was blood on his muzzle from the bramble thickets he had bravely plunged through, and his coat was matted with thorns and burrs. In his food bowl was a scoop of horse-feed. I fetched a horse blanket and a brush from the tack room and set to drying the animal off and cleaning his coat as best I could, and then returned quietly to my companion, who was now shouting on the phone and unaware I had been absent. He paid a stable-girl to look after his animals - she would have been back the following morning - so it wasn't actionable abuse as much as ignorance.
And this is the difference between Gordon Brown and Iain Duncan Smith. Brown, like my property developer, believes if you spend enough money then the welfare of your charges is assured. If they fall short, the answer is to spend more money. He could spend a fortune training the dog, but without anyone to train the owner it would all be wasted. IDS on the other hand cares viscerally for those at the very bottom of society, and his anger at the Labour mismanagement that has fractured our society and cemented so many millions into hopeless unrewarding lives is real.
I'll finish this post with another quote from the Times - this one from India Knight:
The old working class exists, but it is on its last legs, and the underclass that has replaced it is on the rise – angry, desperate, broke and broken, culturally and morally barren, passing on their poor, empty lives to their children and grandchildren. No wonder they drink to oblivion – wouldn’t you?
The fact of the matter is that the binge-drinking problem is largely an underclass problem. Teen pregnancies are largely an underclass problem. Teenage crime is largely an underclass problem. Child neglect – we live in a country where a little girl allegedly starved to death in her own home last week – is largely an underclass problem. Our collective problems are largely underclass problems.
Could somebody not just come out and say it, before another generation floats away to its doom on a sea of alcopops? The underclass was made, not born. Nobody asks to live in poverty, with no hope, no ambitions, no possibility of betterment, and the belief that the most fun you can have is to drink yourself into early cirrhosis. I know they’re hard to love, but really – do we owe these people no responsibility whatsoever? Don’t cut the price of their dreadful gut-rot: help them.